Timely UC Project: Arts History Made Simple

The city’s arts' roots will soon go on colorful display thanks to an extensive project by University of Cincinnati graphic design seniors as well as students from Cincinnati’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts. 

The 42 UC seniors teamed with SCPA students throughout last year to dig up the history of Cincinnati’s music, theater arts, literature, design and architecture, broadcast and film, and visual arts from 1803 to 2003.  The group fashioned a creative, large-scale timeline.  It debutted at UC’s

College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

(DAAP) in June and was exhibited at Music Hall, also in June.  The student timeline project was also displayed at Cincinnati's Tall Stacks from Oct. 15-19.  Next, it will grace the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal from

Nov. 3-30

.

Graphics, photos and text comprise the historical arts information of the timeline panels, and each of the panels takes on a form reflective of an art medium.  “The literature panel is constructed in the form of an open book with fluttering pages.  The ‘design and architecture’ panel has elements that resemble the Suspension Bridge.  The panel containing information on drama and film is shaped like an old Crosley Radio, and the panel about the theater contains a stage door with a curtain over it,” explained UC grad John Rettig.

an early version of the theater arts panel

an early version of the theater arts panel

These creatively shaped panels are designed to take the “line” out of timeline.  Their varied shapes are meant to invite viewers to meander and learn in anything but a lineal fashion. 

The students built their tall (between six- and eight-feet-high panels) with the guidance of Stan Brod, adjunct professor of graphic design; Kristin Cullen; assistant professor of graphic design; Pat Schreiber, adjunct assistant professor of design; Joe Bottoni, professor of graphic design; Dean Potter, SCPA social studies teacher, Elaine Eckstein, SCPA dance instructor; and Joy Fowler, chair of SCPA’s creative writing department.  

an early version of the broadcast and film panel

an early version of the broadcast and film panel

Throughout the year-long project, the UC students served as mentors to 14 SCPA students who followed the design process and helped with design and construction.  One of those students is Emily Eldridge, an SCPA drama/musical theater senior who helped to make some of the early models for the UC project.  She currently attends the UC design classroom every Friday morning, adding, “I started working with the UC students during the winter.  The group I worked with was very accepting.  They explained the technical areas to me.  It’s great because I like to understand all the aspects of planning and producing.  It’s the same for me in theater and drama.”

Other SCPA students conducted research for the timeline, and some will perform historically important music, dance and drama at venues where the UC-designed timeline is on display.  Students from UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences have also contributed to the project.  

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